Evaluation of Measures to Minimize Wildlife-vehicle Collisions and Maintain Permeability Across Highways: Arizona Route 260

Introduction

Layout of wildlife video surveilance system and example imageArizona State Route 260 underwent an upgrade from a narrow two lane highway to four lane divided highway. This highway has a high incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions, with the most comment being collisions involving Rocky Mountain elk. During the upgrade, five bridges and 12 underpasses were constructed to facilitate wildlife passage and reduce the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Additionally, elk-proof fencing has been erected in conjunction with the wildlife passageways. The research along this highway focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of the underpasses, fenses, bridges, and other measures in reducing the amount of wildlife-vehicle collisions while maintainng wildlife movement corridors. The findings are being applied through adaptive management to implement design modification to increase use of these corridors by wildlife. This project is on-going since 2002, and the primary objectives are:

  • Determine the effectiveness of all the measures to minimize the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions along State Route 260 in Arizona.
  • Evaluate the degree to which wildlife traffic crossing the highway is maintained.
  • Provide ongoing construction implementation guidance to Arizona Department of Transportation project managers throughout construction phases.

Background

Arizona State Route 260 underwent an upgrade from a narrow two lane highway to a four lane divided highway. At this same time, wildlife bridges, underpasses, and fencing were added to reduce the incidences of wildlife-vehicle collision.

Methods, Tools, and Data

Methods: Standardized, multi-agency wildlife-vehicle collision tracking form.

Tools: Wildlife monitoring cameras, prepared track bed counts, and GPS receiver collars on a sample of elk.

Related Methods

Case study research is used to conduct an in-depth investigation of an issue at a specific instance and location.

Websites

  • This publication can be found among resources made available at the Road Ecology Center through the John Muir Institute of the Environment at University of California, Davis.